Tag Archives: royal palms resort

Micah Olson, Courtesy of Crudo

Thirsty Thursday: Micah Olson of Bar Crudo and Okra

Micah Olson is set out to do bartending right.

Just by seeing him in action, behind the bar, it’s clear Olson loves what he does. He’s part-owner of Crudo and runs the bar program, for which his enthusiasm is more than evident. He greets customers he knows by name and shakes the hands of those he doesn’t.

Olson appreciates the independence the bar allows him, whether it’s experimenting with new flavors and mixtures or taking care of his own guests.

A bookcase sits off to the side of the bar, one shelf full of books on the specifics of bartending: drinks, taste, flavor.

Olson started as a line cook, eventually moving to the front of the house. As a server, he became interested in wine and after two years of learning about wine, got his Introductory Sommelier Certification from The Court of Master Sommeliers. He’s worked at Phoenix staples such as the Royal Palms Resort and the Sanctuary on Camelback, where he was the wine buyer.

It was at the Sanctuary that his mixology career began. Olson got the chance to take a mixology class, learning about the use of fresh juices, making in-house syrups and going back to basics with classic cocktails. He was offered the bar after that, finally allowed the freedom to come up with his own menu.

“A wannabe cook” is what he calls himself, which explains some of the books on the bookshelf: he has both The Flavor Bible and The Flavor Thesaurus, which he consults often but is familiar enough to know what goes well with what.

The bar computers have a button for Micah: “Dealer’s Choice,” the one Olson uses when he makes up a drink, after doing a bit of question and answer with the patron. Whether it’s regulars who’ve had everything on the menu and want to try something new or indecisive newbies, Olson’s personal touch gets thrown in, when he makes a drink just for them.

This improvisation isn’t a new skill for him. During Arizona Cocktail Week in 2014, Olson won the high-energy competition Last Slinger Standing.  It’s “March Madness bracket formula meets Iron Chef”, and with single elimination, it’s a tense few hours. With a creation he can’t even remember, Olson won last year and served as a coach during this year’s competition in February.

His menu at Bar Crudo is unique, but he’s not striving to be different, he says. Using the classics as stepping-stones, Olson relies on fresh and house-made ingredients to solidify a signature’s style. Fruits and herbs are common on the menu, allowing him to be even more creative with flavor profiles.

“I’m looking just to do things in a correct manner,” Olson says.

While Olson will be adventurous when visiting a new bar and drink specials and favorites, he has his own favorite drink. Because it’s guaranteed to be what he asks for, whiskey on the rocks is what he drinks most of the time.

“I know what I’m getting and that’s very comforting,” he says.

Customers at Bar Crudo will have the same response. Whether ordering a drink from the extensive menu or having Olson come up with a new drink, patrons will know what they’re getting, thanks to Olson’s vast knowledge of the mixology world.

AJ’s Fine Foods Best of the Best 2009 presented by Ranking Arizona

Best of the Best Awards 2009: Entertainment

Entertainment Honoree: Wine Specialty Shops

AJ’s Fine Foods

AJ's Fine Foods - Best of the Best Awards 2009 presented by Ranking Arizona

Photograph by Duane Darling

AJ’s Fine Foods provides an unparalleled shopping experience that delights the senses. As Arizona’s leading gourmet and specialty store, AJ’s offers the highest level of customer service and attention to detail. AJ’s Cellar Masters are on hand in every location to recommend new varietal experiences and to suggest the perfect wine to pair with a steak or fish dinner. Every year during the Summer Wine Spectacular, Cellar Masters personally taste, evaluate and rank more than 200 wines from around the world to bring only the best to AJ’s.

Owned and operated by Bashas’ Family of Stores, AJ’s operates 14 stores in Arizona. AJ’s has been voted Best Place to Work by its members three years in a row. For more information, visit www.ajsfinefoods.com.

22402 S. Basha Road, Chandler
480-895-9350
www.ajsfinefoods.com

Year Est: 1985 
Wine Tasting: At Desig. Locations
Principal(s): Bashas’ Family of Stores


Entertainment Finalist: Restaurants: Southwest/Eclectic

LON’s at the Hermosa

Built in the 1930s by cowboy artist Lon Megargee, LON’S at the Hermosa has a rich history and melds artful American cuisine and spectacular views to create a truly unique dining experience. LON’s diners can enjoy awardwinning, artful American cuisine on a romantic patio or by one of the glowing fireplaces. In addition to the warm ambience, LON’s is the proud recipient of the AAA Four-Diamond award. The menu at LON’s offers a memorable culinary experience, which captures spirit, creativity and warmth using bold flavors and compelling combinations that reflect a contemporary take on a multitude of foods originating in the Western Hemisphere.

5532 N. Palo Cristi Road, Paradise Valley
602-955-7878
www.lons.com


Entertainment Finalist: Restaurants: International

T. Cook’s at Royal Palms

Under the direction of Executive Chef Lee Hillson, Royal Palms Resort and Spa features the awardwinning T. Cook’s restaurant — serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Located in the original 1929 mansion of the Royal Palms, it creates a residential dining experience that’s comfortable yet elegant. Enveloped by palm trees, citrus, flowers and fountains, T. Cook’s is a true oasis in the desert. Receiving the highest ratings from both national food critics and locals for its select seasonal dishes, the menus feature a wide variety of creative dishes from the Mediterranean and exotic surrounding regions.

5200 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
602-808-0766
www.royalpalmsresortandspa.com


Best of the Best Awards 2009 presented by Ranking Arizona

Tourism Honoree Southwest Airlines Best of the Best 2009

Best of the Best Awards 2009: Tourism

Tourism Honoree: Airlines Serving Arizona

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines - Best of the Best Awards 2009 presented by Ranking Arizona

Photograph by Duane Darling

It all began on a cocktail napkin more than 38 years ago. Attorney Herb Kelleher and businessman Rollin King sketched Southwest Airlines’ original route structure connecting Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, which officially created the low-fare category in the airline industry. Today, Southwest has become the nation’s largest airline in terms of domestic passengers enplaned, serving 65 airports in 33 states. Southwest provides more than just air travel to the communities it serves. By attracting new customers with low fares and high frequency, Southwest creates jobs for residents and revenue for the airports and cities it serves — a phenomenon dubbed “the Southwest Effect.” Southwest has been a maverick in the industry and a model for excellence in American business.

Guided by visionary leadership, Southwest has managed to remain profitable through some of the country’s most turbulent times.

3800 E. Sky Harbor Blvd., Phoenix
800-I-FLY-SWA
www.southwest.com

Year Est: 1982
AZ Staff: 4,000+
Parent Company HQ: Dallas, Texas
Destinations out of AZ: 64


Tourism Finalist: Meeting/Convention: 43,999 SQ FT or less

The Ritz-Carlton Phoenix

The Ritz-Carlton Phoenix is the premier luxury business hotel in Arizona, acclaimed for its warm hospitality and impeccable, personalized service. More than 20,000 square feet of meeting and event facilities accommodate groups from 10 to 500 guests. The 14 meeting rooms and outdoor Poolside Terrace create an ideal setting for events.

2401 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
602-468-0700
www.ritzcarlton.com


Tourism Finalist: Resorts/Hotels: 184 rooms or fewer

Royal Palms Resort & Spa

Nestled at the base of Camelback Mountain, Royal Palms Resort and Spa is a Spanish Mediterranean-style estate that offers 119 guestrooms, casitas and suites. The Royal Palms combines the graciousness and sophistication of a Mediterranean villa with the intimacy and privacy of a secluded retreat. With its unique ambience, stone fireplaces, and mountain views, the resort offers the award-winning T. Cook’s restaurant, Mobil Four-Star Alvadora Spa and more than 20,000 square feet of meeting space.

5200 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
602-840-3610
www.royalpalmsresortandspa.com


Best of the Best Awards 2009 presented by Ranking Arizona